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Every year, HubSpot surveys thousands of businesses across the globe to find out what's working and what's not working with marketing. They publish their findings in their annual State of Inbound Marketing Report.

Over the years, they've tracked the emergence of inbound tactics like blogging, social media, and premium content over interruptive tactics like paid advertising.

This year is different.

Rather than observing a shift from outbound to inbound - now over 75% of companies are using some inbound marketing tactics - they focused on the tips, tricks, and hacks that make businesses successful in their marketing.

Whether you're a small business owner, a marketer, or a sales person, the report is worth reading to learn how the most successful companies are generating traffic, leads, sales, and creating evangelist customers with inbound marketing tactics.

That said, the 46-page report is hefty, so we've broken it down to 5 quick and dirty ways to WIN at inbound marketing as 2015 comes to a close:

1. Demonstrate positive ROI

In my opinion, closed loop reporting is one of the best aspects of marketing in the digital age. The software tools we have at our disposal provide greater insights into prospect and customer behaviors so we can optimize our marketing and demonstrate positive ROI over time.

HubSpot's report found that respondents were 20% more likely to receive a higher budget in 2015 if ROI was tracked in general and twice as likely to see an increased budget if that tracked ROI was shown to be higher than in 2014.

Conversely, respondents were nine times more likely to receive a lower budget if they failed to demonstrate a positive ROI. 

Unsurprisingly, they also found that the marketers who demonstrated positive ROI in 2014 were able to secure additional budget to flow back into their marketing efforts for 2015.

2. Check your analytics regularly

On some level, we all know it's important to keep track of key performance indicators. HubSpot quantifies the importance of checking analytics with a pretty cool stat:

Marketers who check their metrics 3+ times per week are 20% more likely to achieve positive ROI."

3. Take great content from wherever you can get it

According to HubSpot, "The most successful marketing organizations launch a balanced attack on churning out compelling content." Their study found that companies that increased ROI in the past year were more likely to employ both staff writers and guest contributors in their content creation efforts than their less successful peers.

 

4. Get the right marketing tools in place

Leading marketers use marketing automation software.

I know HubSpot is biased, but only one-third of respondents were affiliated with HubSpot and they still agreed - marketing automation is a critical tool for generating positive ROI year over year. In fact, marketers who increased ROI from 2014 to 2015 were 11% more likely to have utilized a marketing automation platform in the process.

5. Get the right sales tools in place

Marketing and sales alignment continues to be one of the greatest predictors of increased ROI. That's why the most successful marketers are involved with sales software purchase decisions. As HubSpot puts it: "Using marketing automation software increases a marketer’s chances for success. And when Marketing and Sales loop each other in to software purchase decisions (for both CRM systems and marketing automation tools alike), the odds are even better."

Interested in learning more? Surprised by any of these takeaways? Download the full report here and then let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Image by Snap via flickr, licensed under CC by 2.0

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